Philippines commits to 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

The Philippines has committed to a 75% greenhouse gas emission reduction and avoidance by 2030, as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the Philippines’ first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) which aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 75% by 2030, the Finance department said on Friday.

The five-page NDC details the country’s goal of modernizing and pursuing low carbon and resilient development for the agriculture, waste, industry, transport and energy sectors over a ten-year period beginning 2020.

“The target is based on the country’s projected business-as-usual cumulative economy-wide emission of 3,340.3 metric tons (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) for the same period,” the Department of Finance said in a statement.

Of the 75% target, some 72.29% will be conditional or dependent on the support of climate finance, technologies and capacity development which is set to be provided by developed countries. The rest of the target will be implemented through domestic resources.

NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which seeks to limit the global temperature rise to preferably below 1.5 degrees Celsius. NDCs detail the efforts of countries in reducing emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who is the chairman-designate of the Climate Change Commission (CCC), described the country’s NDC target as “ambitious.” The CCC facilitated the formulation of the NDC.

“The NDC will be our tool to upgrade our economy by adopting modern and low carbon technologies and approaches that would help mitigate the climate crisis and make our economy more resilient and our growth sustainable,” he was quoted as saying.

Based on the NDC registry of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Philippines is the latest country that has submitted its NDC, as of Thursday.


Nazrin Camille D. Castro, manager of the Philippine branch of global non-profit The Climate Reality Project, said that the NDC will enable the country to unlock new sources of climate finance “that will help the just and equitable transition away from coal, oil, gas, and fossil fuel-based energy systems.”

“The 75% GHG reduction and avoidance target is achievable if the government could come up with formidable and bankable climate change mitigation and adaptation projects that will enable us to access international climate finance mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund,” Ms. Castro told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview on Friday.

She added the country’s ability to reach the NDC target depends on the public and private sector’s efforts in building back better, an opportunity which the global health emergency has presented.

Albert A. Magalang, Chief of Climate Change Service at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said that the target is “high and ambitious”, but its fulfillment will mostly depend on support from other countries.

“The achievement of the Philippines’ 75% target would mainly depend on the support and the means of implementation that will be provided to the country as most of the mitigation target is conditional,” Mr. Magalang told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview on Friday.

“The global health emergency may affect the level of support that will be provided from the developed countries but on the other hand, the global emissions may have also (been) reduced due to low economic activity during the pandemic,” he said, in response to a question on whether the country can reach its target given the pandemic.

Meanwhile, environment group Greenpeace Philippines described the target as “underwhelming.”

“It’s disappointing that despite strong calls from the public and environmental groups, the government barely made changes from the underwhelming target of 75% conditional and 2.71 percent unconditional emissions reduction by 2030,” Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu said, referring to the draft presented during the 2nd NDC Multistakeholder Consultation held in February.

“With unambitious plans for carbon-intensive sectors, the commitment does not reflect the urgency needed to address the climate emergency,” he added.

On Friday, the DoF said that crafting the NDC followed a “rigorous” process, which included economic modeling analyses, expert reviews and consultations with various stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors.